A brief history of Loaded for Bear Audio

Hello! I’m Jon…

…and I know that cables can be the least interesting part of your rig or setup! They’re just a thing you need to connect all that sexy expensive gear together with right? They’re these needy things that when not carrying your immaculately crafted sound, just waste your time having you untangle and re-coil them, over and over and over…because they’re just annoying, boring cables.

I know this, because I’ve spent well over 25 years connecting things together to make or to capture sound. Either my own sounds as a budding guitarist or the sounds of many many incredibly talented musicians and filmakers who I’ve had the great pleasure of working with through my career. And we all had scruffy cables in common.

I graduated with a degree in Professional Broadcast Techniques from the University of Salford, UK having spent a few years prior to this studying Sound Engineering at college. Working as a freelancer and within education as a sound engineer and videographer for years, I too got totally cheesed off with how much time and energy these pesky cables were wasting. Something needed to be done about the piles of audio noodles I was encountering, I had to put a stop to the nightmares! But how? When?

Somewhere in the middle of all this, myself and partner decided to run away to the continent for a couple of years to live amongst the trees and where the wine flowed freely. I’d been doing a lot of photography and decided that it’d be a great idea to design ‘aesthetically pleasing’ security camera straps as I couldn’t find anything other than standard black or leather reporter style harnesses or travel safety straps. I had it all clear in my mind and needed a name that suggested ‘be prepared’. My Google skills soon landed me on the old hunting term ‘Loaded for bear’ meaning ‘prepared for action’ and, in hunting terms, to be carrying the correct equipment to hunt a bear.

I have zero interest in hunting bears, in fact I love them and some day a bear charity will be on our list of awesome causes to support. But, Loaded for Bear really suited my concept for the camera straps, and I loved it. Thing is, I quickly realised that if I were to get mugged for my camera, I’d much rather just hand it over than face the aggressors blade! I put that one on hold.

Three or four years later I was working as a Music Technician, largely supporting Electroacoustic Composition at the University of Manchester and began to make cables again as a hobby, mainly for friends. I’d been making cables since my teens and was always thinking about how to improve such a standard thing. We needed more colour! We needed more reliability! We needed less tangle and more time to ourselves, away from the noodles. Now was my time.

Teenage Jon Loaded for Bear Audio
Teenage me reading up on my newly acquired Akai S21 sampler. Happy (Atari) Days! Excuse the RCA – 1/4″ adapters 🙂 Alesis ADAT XT hiding out of frame 😲

I wanted to offer up unique colours, really high quality components and somehow find a way of assembling a cable that would bring tangle-free bliss to it’s owner and be as environmentally low-impact as possible, for a cable. Over a couple of years I tried various brands of cable stock, plugs and expandable sleeving and finally settled on what I thought resulted in a great sounding, great to handle and great looking guitar cable assembly. I was still doing it as a hobby, but took great pride in my work, which was always a welcome relief from the screens.

At some point we decided to move our family out of the city centre to a place in the nearby hills called Hebden Bridge. It was the right thing to do but after a while the long days and the commute really got to me and I was hardly seeing my partner and kids. I found a way to resign and become self-employed again with some freelance work that would keep me going while I figured out the long term plan. My dad asked over a pint one night whether the cable thing could become a bigger venture. I guess it could. It did. And I had a name!

Loaded for Bear Audio is a proudly independent business that I run predominantly by myself, with the help of my partner who I couldn’t do without, with her sharp decision making skills, eye for a shot, props and social media knowledge. But when you contact us, place an order with us, it’s myself who picks that up. I take it from the earliest days of enquiry right through assembly, testing, packaging and posting. So when you choose to let our cables into your life, you have a direct connection with me, all the way, and truly support our family for which we’re all immensely grateful. We pride ourselves on customer service and communication and try to do good in the way we do business. This is who we are.

Loaded for Bear Audio cables are far removed from the evil, time-wasting tone-suckers out there, they’re assembled with the best components, they’re reliable, they sound great, look great and they just don’t fricking tangle!!! It now genuinely baffles me that some folk find it hard to invest in the things that carry their precious tone from one premium piece of kit to the other. Treat your gear, if you don’t it’s like supping a beautifully crafted bottle of wine through a plastic straw. Oh, and if you’re in the UK, you get a lifetime guarantee on your cables. Winner!

Check out our shop for braided Guitar Cables, Patch Cables, Microphone Cables, MIDI & Kemper Cables and more…

loaded for bear audio cable noodles

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